The Office

Season 2 Episode 21

Conflict Resolution

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM May 04, 2006 on NBC

Episode Recap

Angela is using the photocopier and Kevin is standing at Pam's desk, drumming his fingers on the counter. He asks Pam if she has found a band for her wedding yet. Pam tells him no. He tells her that he is in a band. Cut to Jim telling camera that he sometimes overhears Pam planning her wedding, but he's fine with it. She has to listen to him planning his social life and they both have to listen to Dwight ordering deer urine off the Internet, so it all levels out.
Phyllis is thanking Pam for her 'Save a Date' wedding invitation as they enter the lunch room. Jim walks in behind them, hears what they are talking about and walks back out. Angela tells Pam she hasn't received her invitation yet. Kelly looks uncomfortable as Pam flounders. Cut to Pam telling the camera that she has not invited some people to her wedding and that might make things kind of awkward, but it's her wedding and she does not want anyone there who has called her a hussy.
Michael is showing off his new haircut to the camera, telling us that today is staff photo day. Gotta represent. Cut to Phyllis, wearing heavy make up, sitting for her photo. She asks the photographer if he wants her glasses on or off. He tells her off. She removes them and smiles for the camera. Dwight asks her, in a concerned tone, what is on her face and if it is a disguise. Phyllis gets upset and walks out of the room. Dwight mutters to himself, "clown paint." Cut to Dwight explaining to camera that he thinks ID badges are long overdue. Security at the office is a joke. One time he brought his spud gun to work in a duffel bag. He sat at his desk all day, with a rifle that shoots potatoes at 60lbs per square inch. Can you imagine what could have happened if he was deranged?
Ryan is sitting in Michael's office looking uncomfortable. Michael tells him he is wearing a nice tie, and walks over to him. Ryan backs away as Michael grabs his tie and compares it to his own. He asks Ryan if he can wear it for his ID photo and Ryan tells him they should keep their clothes, before they are both interrupted by the sound of Oscar shouting 'it's like child abuse', coming through the wall. Michael goes to investigate while Ryan uses the opportunity to escape Michael's office and runs to his desk. Michael walks into the conference room next door to see Oscar, quite irate, shouting at Toby, 'if Jesus saw that, he'd freak out, Toby, he'd freak out'. They both stop and look up at Michael when he walks in. Michael asks what's going on and Toby tells him he's letting Oscar vent out some stuff. They normally use the break room but the photographer is in there. Michael asks what the problem is and Toby starts to tell him it's a poster that Angela has put up in her workspace before Oscar talks over him, telling Michael since Christmas. Michael asks what the deal is and asks Oscar if he and Angela are dating. Toby pulls Michael aside and tells him the way he usually handles things is to listen to them and let them get it out and the problem usually resolves itself. He tells him it's like if you're really angry at someone, and you write them a letter but you put it in a drawer for a few weeks and you never end up sending it. Michael asks Toby what he knows about conflict resolution, telling him his answer to everything is to get divorced and laughs to the camera. Toby tells him it was the right decision for him and Michael tells him that it won't fly here because in this office it's til death do us part. Unless they get down. He then tells Pam to get Angela and meet them in the conference room.
Cut to Michael sitting at the table in the conference room holding a white folder that says 'A Mediator's Toolchest'. Pam is sitting to Michael's side looking extremely bored. Angela and Oscar are facing each other, looking extremely hostile. Michael tells them that before they begin they need to know the five different of conflict. His shaolin temple defeats their monkey Angela rudely asks him if she can go because she has a lot of work to do. Michael tells her not right now, this is important. He then tells them the first is lose-lose. Oscar cuts him off and asks him what the next one is. Michael tells him to hold on, and informs them that in lose-lose, neither person gets what they want. He asks them if they want a lose-lose resolution and Angela asks them if they can just skip to number 5, win-win or whatever. He flips through the folder and tells them win-win is number 4, and number 5 is win-win-win. He then reads out that win-win-win is where everyone wins, even him. He wins by successfully negotiating a resolution. He looks impressed with himself.
Cut to shot of Angela's baby poster. Michael asks them in turn to describe their feelings about the poster, using 'I' emotion language, and no judging or 'You' statements. Pam is looking even more bored than before.
Angela - " I, got this poster for Christmas, and I feel I wanna see it it everyday. It makes me feel like the babies are the true artists, and God has a really cute sense of humour."
Michael - "C'mon, seriously, that?"
Oscar - "I, don't like looking at it. It's creepy and in bad taste, and it's just offensive to me. It makes me think of the horrible, frigid stage mothers who forced their babies into it. It's kitsch, it's the OPPOSITE of art. It destroys art, it destroys souls. This is SO much more offensive to me than hardcore porn.."
Michael - "Ok, ok, ok, stop. stop. stop. Let's see if we can't just brainstorm and find some... creative, alternative sort of win-win?"
Pam - "Win"
Michael - "Yes! Thank you Pam."
Michael tells them that Angela should make the poster into a T-shirt, and Oscar can wear it. That way Oscar can never see it and when Angela looks at Oscar, she gets to see it. They both refuse. Angela suggests that she should leave the poster up. Oscar suggests that they take the poster down. Pam suggests that Angela puts the poster up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Michael tells them that that is called a compromise, and it is 3, and it is not ideal. He summarises. Win-win, make the T shirt. Win-lose, take the poster down. Compromise Tuesdays and Thursdays. And the answer is... Make the poster into a T shirt, win-win. Pam corrects him again, win. Oscar says fine and Angela goes to protest but Michael tells them it is done.
Cut to Creed having his photo taken. After the flash goes off, he turns to his left side as if in a police line-up. The photographer tells him he's good. Creed says, "Great!" and walks away. The camera moves to Creed's photo which shows him looking slightly deranged.
Pam walks to Angela's desk and gives her a wedding invite, telling her she didn't know her zip code. Cut to Angela telling the camera that it was hand delivered, but, she did get a save-the-date. She holds up the invite to camera and tells us it's not in her taste.
Michael goes to Toby and tells him he solved the complaint. Toby tells him he can throw it out then and opens a large manilla folder stuffed full of handwritten pieces of paper. Michael tells him he would like to see the other complaints. Toby tells him he can't do that. Michael then tells him that he and Toby now have a conflict. He orders Toby to give him the folder. Toby refuses and Michael grabs it off the desks. Toby resists but gives up after Michael gets it. Michael tells him he resolved the conflict and asides to the camera - win-lose this time, it wasn't pretty. He asks Toby if that is it and Toby sighs and pulls out a large box from under his desk. He picks it up and tells Michael they're all Dwight's. Cut to Toby telling the camera that every Friday at 4 he has a standing appointment with Dwight to file a grievance with him against Jim. Toby tells him he's sending them to a special file in New York. That box is the special file in New York. Michael grabs the box and walks out muttering that he has to do everything himself. In the background we see Oscar holding up the evil baby poster across his chest while he has his photo taken. The photographer asks if he's sure, and Dwight tells him confidently that he's sure all right.
Pam is trapped in the conference room with Michael while he reads through the folder of complaints. Kevin complains that Stanley uses his Miracle Whip without asking. Meredith complains that everyone talks too loud in the morning and the lights are too bright. Creed is sick of looking at the redhead all day and wants a seat facing the receptionist. Pam is disgusted. Michael points out that none of the complaints are against him. Cut to Toby telling the camera that he keeps the complaints against Michael in a separate folder. He unlocks his desk drawer and pulls out a large brown document wallet about 4 inches thick. He tells the camera that it is January through March of this year.
Michael walks out of his office carrying the folder of complaints, and asks everybody how many of them have at one time gone to Toby to complain about another employee. Everyone puts their hand up. He then asks how many of them got what they wanted or were just listened to, forgot about their problem and moved on. They all mumble to themselves that they were listened to. Michael tells them it is outrageous. He tells them he loves the place and can't stand to see all the negativity festering. Pam rolls her eyes. He then tells them that they are going to get everything in the folder out in the open. He then brings up the Angela-Phyllis dispute. Angela tells Michael she already did him and Michael tells her 'that's what she said' while Jim mouths the words in synch. He then tells Angela that she has made a lot of complaints about everyone except Dwight, which is odd because everyone else has made a lot of complaints against him. He then asks Toby what "redacted" means. Toby tells him it means someone made the complaint and then came back later and withdrew it. Michael tells them that the were a number of complaints made against Dwight that were redacted six months ago. Dwight asks if someone has a problem with him, why would they withdraw it six months ago. Pan to Angela who is looking very embarrassed and apologetic. Knowing about Angela's secret affair with Dwight, Pam tells everyone to move on and volunteers to go next. Michael tells her there was just one complaint made against her and it was withdrawn. Pam asks him what the complaint was and Michael tells her, "does she have to plan her wedding on office time? Shouldn't she do that at home." Pam throws a death stare at Angela who looks back in surprise. Cut to a fired up Pam telling the camera that she has a big secret about Angela. She has been nice to her and hasn't told anyone, and.. What the Hell!
Michael then reads out a Kelly complaint. Ryan never returns my calls. Michael laughs and tells her, "join the club." Ryan sheepishly tells them his voicemail gets spotty. Kelly tells them it wasn't a complaint, she was just talking. Toby tells her, to a HR representative. Kelly angrily tells him, to a friend, she thought. She then tells him she wants the complaint withdrawn. Toby tells her he will remove her name so no one will ever know, throwing a narky look at Michael. Michael scrunches Kelly's complaint into a ball and tells them they are making progress. Jim puts his hand up and tells Michael that Dwight tried to kiss him and he didn't make a complaint because he wasn't sure how he felt about it. Dwight angrily tells Michael it isn't true. Dwight demands that Jim redacts it. Redact it! Jim tells him it wasn't a formal complaint but that they should talk about it. Dwight then asks Toby if redaction applies to the permanent misbehavior file in New York. Toby tells him, "sure."
Pam walks over and angrily accuses Angela of ratting her out. Angela tells her she didn't do it. Pam tells her she finds it hard to believe considering she has made complaints against everyone in the office except for "bobble-head Joe." Camera blur pans to Dwight's Dwight bobble-head, then to Dwight, then back to Michael who is reading out another complaint. Someone complained that the bathroom is whites only. Michael tells Stanley that it isn't true but Stanley tells him he didn't make the complaint. Creed snaps at them, "Then why is there a picture of a white man on the door?" Michael looks over to the men's room door and sees the symbol for a man and a wheelchair, both in white on a brown square plaque. Michael pauses, then decides to ignore Creed and continue. He tells Phyllis that she complained that Angela gives her death stares and she tried to get off the party planning committee. Phyllis is embarrassed and tells them it isn't true and the she and Angela are close. She looks to Angela who is already looking upset and looks down at Phyllis sadly. Michael then tells her that Stanley complained that she cries too much and it bugs him. Phyllis tells them that she and Stanley are close and Stanley tells her that they, "sit close." Phyllis looks more depressed.
Toby sits down to pose for his photo. The photographer is adjusting the camera and Toby tells him to just take it and gets up and walks away. The photo shows Toby walking off in the frame.
Pam is venting to Jim in the lunch room. She complains that she went against her better judgment and gave her a save-the-date and now it turns out that she complained about her to Toby. Jim reminds her it was redacted. Pam fumes. Jim tries to helpfully suggest that if she wants an invite, maybe she is trying to be friends. Pam snaps at Jim, telling him not to take Angela's side. He asks her what Roy thinks about it and Pam tells him she tries not to bother Roy with that stuff. Jim asks her if she means her thoughts and feelings. Pam tells him yeah. Jim looks sad.
Michael is mediating between Phyllis and Angela. Phyllis is explaining that she knows Angela says it's her reserved parking space but there's no sign and she keeps forgetting. Angela tells her that's the problem. Phyllis agrees with her and Michael tells them they have sorted it out. They sit uncomfortably and Phyllis hisses at Angela "I don't like you."
Michael is now mediating with Ryan and Creed. He tells them that Ryan told Toby that Creed has a distinct old man smell. Creed looks up and smiles at them.
Cut to Creed talking to camera
"I know EXACTLY what he's talking about. I sprout mung beans on a damp paper towel in my desk drawer. Very nutritious, but they... smell like death."
Michael is mediating with Kevin and Angela. He tells Kevin that Angela made a complaint that he made sexually suggestive remarks to her that made her feel uncomfortable. Michael's solution is that Angela make sexually suggestive remarks to Kevin that make him feel uncomfortable. Kevin accepts.
Dwight is getting his photo taken and Jim suggest to him that they get their photo taken together. Dwight tells him no, it doesn't make any sense. Jim tells him it will save time as they can meet in the car park in the morning and walk in together. The photographer asks him to smile and Dwight firmly says NO. Cut to Dwight talking to camera
"I never smile if I can help it. Showing one's teeth, is a submission signal in primates. Once someone smiles at me, All I see a chimpanzee begging for it's life."
Jim gives Dwight his ID badge, telling him it came out really well. The card is laminated into an A4 piece of plastic. Dwight reads it and angrily tells Jim it is humongous, he is not a security threat, and his middle name is Kurt, not Fart. Jim asks him what he wrote and Dwight storms out of the room while Jim smiles to camera. Dwight marches straight over to Toby holding up the huge ID card and tells him he has another complaint for Jim's file. Toby tells him it's up to Michael, he gave him the box. Dwight angrily asks him what box. Toby throws a look to camera as if to say, who cares anymore?
Michael is mediating with Phyllis and Stanley when Dwight bursts the door open and storms in. He grabs a box of complaints on the desk in front of Michael and rifles through them. He pulls out two complaints and yells at Michael, 'Four years of malfeasance unreported! Whose side is Toby on? Whose side are YOU on?' Michael tries to calm him down but Dwight has finally gone over the edge. He screams at him that he cannot work with Jim anymore. Either Jim goes or he goes. One of them is out of there by the end of today. He grabs the box of complaints and marches out slamming the door after him. Michael is looking very rattled and simply says softly, ok.
Dwight is unloading on Michael in his office. He tells him he is not bluffing and to do the right thing. He tells him he has served him loyally for years and he deserves it, Michael knows he deserves it. Michael is stressed and tries to think of something to say. He looks down at Dwight's ID card and cracks up laughing, telling him it says he's a security threat. Dwight is not in a laughing mood and tells Michael he has til 5 and walks out.
Dwight has a list of jobs on his computer and tauntingly tells Jim a sales manager position just opened up in Stamford. He asks him if he wants him to call Jan for him and offers to put in a good word for him because he'll still be working here. Dwight starts chanting TRANS-FER TRANS-FER and tries unsuccessfully to get everyone to join in. Michael comes out of his office and calls both of them into the conference room.
Michael tells Jim and Dwight that nobody leaves the conference room til they work this out. Cage match. Cut to Michael telling the camera that cage matches work out, how could they not work out? If they didn't work, everyone would still be in the cage.
Michael reads out Dwight's list of complaints
"Someone replaced all my pens and pencils with crayons, I suspect Jim Halpert.
Everyone has called me Dwayne all day, I think Jim Halpert paid them to"
Jim to camera - "YES! 5 bucks each, and it was totally worth it."
Michael - "This morning, I found a bloody glove in my desk drawer, and Jim Halpert tried to convince me that I had committed murder. I think he may be the real murderer.
Jim Halpert said there was an abandoned infant in the women's room. When I went to save the child I saw Meredith on the can. Gaah.
This morning I knocked myself in the head with the phone."
Michael looks confusingly at Dwight. Jim is trying hard to suppress a grin.
Jim to camera - "That actually took a while. I had to put uh, more and more nickels into his handset until he got used to the weight, then I just, took them all out."
Michael - "Every time I typed my name it spelled 'diapers'"
Jim to camera - "Just a simple macro. You know.. these actually don't sound that funny one after another. But he does deserve it, though."
Michael - "By the end of the day my desk was about two feet closer to the photocopier."
Jim to camera - "Yeah I just.. moved it an inch, everytime he went to the bathroom... and.. that's how I spent my entire day that day"
Jim gets a regretful look on his face.
Angela walks into the lunch room as Phyllis is putting something in the fridge. Angela goes to get something from the fridge and Phyllis slams the door on her and walks out of the room.
Michael unlocks the conference room door and walks around the office looking for Toby. The camera follows him and we progressively see all of the staff looking angry and not speaking to each other. Michael tells the camera that the Japanese have this thing called Shiatsu massage where they dig into your body very hard and it is very painful and apparently some people throw up. But the next day they feel great. He then says he's never had one, they sound awful. Cut to Michael sitting for his ID photo. He is looking extremely stressed and burnt out. He glances through the window to Toby who is sitting at his desk and nodding at him in acknowledgment. Michael stares deeply then looks away as the camera flash goes off.
Jim and Dwight are alone in the conference room looking solemn. Jim muses that maybe he should transfer to Stamford. Dwight comments that it's a better market, bigger volume. Jim laughs and jokingly suggest they should both transfer to Stamford. Dwight tells Jim he can't because he has a girlfriend. Jim laughs at him as Michael walks back in looking frazzled. He tells them they have 300 more complaints but they should go through them later. Dwight demands to know if he is going to transfer Jim and Michael tells him maybe, he hasn't decided yet. Dwight tells him he wants an answer by tomorrow. Michael tells him tomorrow is no good, how about later in the week? Dwight tells him fine.
Cut to Dwight wearing his new, normal ID badge. The photographer has packed up and is walking out. Michael stops him and asks him for a group picture. The photographer tells him he can't, he only gets reimbursed for the ID photos. Michael tells him it'll take two seconds and the photographer quotes him 20 bucks. Michael agrees and tells everyone to gather around for a photo. Everyone is disgusted but reluctantly line up.
Everyone is standing in a group with Michael crouching in front looking extremely miserable. The photographer asks for them to smile. Jim yawns during the first shot and Michael gets the photographer to take another one. He asks for another 20 bucks. While Michael pays him, Pam tells Angela she needs to talk to her about the save-a-date. Jim cuts her off and tells her, while Phyllis listens in, that it wasn't Angela. He tells her it was him who made the complaint about her. He didn't know they were going to write it down, he was just venting, for one day, and he took it right back. Pam nods coldly and says Okay. Michael lines up for the now third photo. It doesn't turn out. We see more shots of the group being photographed while Michael's voice over speaks
"It was really hard getting a good picture of 15 people, he would not give me a discount, and eight tries added up... (shot of photo going wrong) .. but I'm sort of an expert at Photoshop, so it turned out fine in the end."
Cut to shot of a group photo with everyone's heads obviously cut and pasted on. The and lighting are inconsistent.
Cut to Pam checking her voicemail. The message is from Jim telling her he has a doctor's appointment in the city so he probably won't be in until late afternoon. Michael's voice over speaks while we see footage of Jim in a suit, at corporate office meeting up with Jan Levinson for an interview.
Michael - "When people work together, there is going to be conflict, you can't outrun your problems.. ..and that is why the idea of a cage match is so universally appealing. But here's the thing with cage matches, sometimes you have to open the cage, and that is something that Toby will never understand"
Cut to shot of Toby walking through the warehouse carrying the box with all of Dwight's complaints. He walks up to a pallet of identical looking boxes and puts the complaints box into an empty space. The camera pulls back and we see a warehouse full of identical boxes as Toby walks aways.